Choice Music Prize Awards – Review

Choice Music Prize Awards Review

Choice Music Prize Awards Review

All Tvvins immaculately kick off the standard for the night, gracing the audience with their triumphant beat. The deliciously funky ‘Darkest Ocean’ delights. Looking around, the venue is not at all overrun with phone screens – just appreciative listeners. This is a testament to the night of golden music that lies ahead.

See also: Choice Music Prize Awards – Photos


A DJ set paves the way forward via Daithí. He begins with his nominated ‘Mary Keane’s Intro’ – an acclaimed track that features the uniquely embedded voice of his grandmother recounting her past. The young musician strums at his electronic synthesised fiddle, producing this atmospheric tune. At first it feels a little hard received in this Vicar Street setting. Yet when we reach the second song (where Daithí is joined on stage by singer Sinead White) the vibe is majorly enhanced and the desire for a 3 AM bop made overwhelming.


Fight Like Apes burst into action, quirky from the get-go. Attention is firmly seized – from MayKay’s charismatic presence to the intriguing musical substance. Their sound boasts some form of naive angst. ‘Pretty Keen On Centrefolds’ shines, exhibiting the band’s engaging quality. The vitality at the Choice Music Prize Awards continues to spiral with the whirlwind of rock, rhythm and hair gel that is Otherkin. Their polished screeches, fierce vibrations and liveliness exemplify their success.

See also: Choice Music Prize Awards – Photos


The Academic follow with ‘Different’, splendidly easy on the ears. With savage strings and joyful looseness, it comes to mind that they would undoubtedly be a worthwhile festival viewing. Their music has genuine mood altering power – in all the right ways.


The last act to grace the stage before the winner of Song of The Year is announced is Belfast based Pleasure Beach. The drummer and lead singer harmonize, voices coming together bountifully. This is truly joyous indie rock, energy levels soaring as high as the notes. When their time comes to a close, the lead singer throws down his guitar and sways off, hair flowing behind. Someone behind remarks “rock and roll”.

Song of The Year Goes To – Gavin James ‘Bitter Pill’


The wondrous HamsandwicH open the second half of the evening. Niamh Farrell’s strong but sweet vocal is as pleasurable as always. Their performance of ‘Illuminate’ proves itself to be what is probably the best performance so far, so delightful that the crowd clap along in unison. Podge McNamee’s masculine tone complements the melody and in this moment Vicar Street lights up.

See also: Choice Music Prize Awards – Photos


Colm Mac Con Iomaire is a complete alternate to the other nominees, soaking up the audience with transcendental symphony. Dazzling compositions and the addition of a mandolin keep us in another realm. The excellence of musicianship augments further as the (later crowned Album of the Year winner) Soak takes to the stage.

Choice Music Prize Photos

The Derry talent opens with ‘Blud’ – and it is glorious. This song is a truthful recounting of anguish. It is so unbelievably touching to hear such a beautiful portrayal of pain over the situations of our loved ones, and sang by such an ethereal voice. ‘B A Nobody’ is just as incredible. The room is drawn to absolute silence. Soak’s lyrics bleed with beauty. Her art is so distinctly soulful and poetically narrated that is proves completely deserved that she wins the Choice Prize. This moment in time is one that will remain with all those here that have been gifted with it.

After having been blown away by Soak, it seems impossible that anything could match that highlight. Yet then comes Villagers.

Choice Music Prize Awards Review

Having seen this act on numerous occasions it would seem that expectations would adequately foresee the effect. Yet when Conor O’ Brien sits down at the keyboard and cries out ‘No One To Blame’ the term breath-taking comes to life. His songs tell a story and we, the audience, are engrossed. ‘Courage’ brings the world inside these four walls to a standstill. Here, no noise exists except that mesmerizing voice calling out arguably the most beautiful song of the year. As it draws to a close the audience members come to their feet to clap. But there is no body motion that can sufficiently thank Villagers for this emotional cleanse, this remarkable performance.

See also: Choice Music Prize Awards – Photos


Song of the Year winner Gavin James is second last to perform. The winning ‘Bitter Pill’ presents itself as a pleasing love song embellished by his vocal range. This intensity is vanquished as Le Galaxie arrive, ready to finish up with a bang.


The band leave a serious impact, transforming Vicar Street into a disco. Everyone is on their feet, inebriated by the electro. Michael Pope hops into the crowd and not for one minute are our eyes not fixated on this act. His deeming of this as an ‘incredible night’ is met with intense cheer.

As the legendary Adam Clayton later awards worthy Soak with Irish Album of the Year he sums it up justly as an occasion illustrating ‘the breath of diversity of Irish music’. And what a tremendous occasion it was.

Review by Shannon Welby


Lucy Ivan

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